Winds of change are visible

BJP prime minister designate Narendra Modi addressed a massive rally at Dehradun, Uttarakhand on 15 December 2013 to a rousing audience that cheered him each time he took at dig at New Delhi.  On this day the BJP nationally organised ‘Run for unity’ honouring Sardar Patel on his anniversary. The question is, why did he choose to start the poll bugle post assembly elections from Uttarakhand? The average BJP worker in Dehradun was energised and the kind of effort they put in for the just concluded rally was very purposeful. They have every reason to celebrate as they feel the BJP has just won the semifinal which Modi pointed out. What about the AAP factor, will their magic work here only time will tell? The preparations for the rally saw all the BJP top guns moving across all the five parliament constituencies. Modi painted a rosy picture and showed a new vision of Uttarakhand to the people here who were definitely spell bound by his oratory.

The preparation of the rally saw Khanduri, Koshiary and Nishank visiting Pauri, Nainital and Haridwar respectively while Bhat and Rawat went touring Almora and Tehri respectively. The town wore a saffron look and every intersection was decorated. The BJP stated that it wanted to collect between 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh people, how many actually come will be a subject of debate between the two parties. Moreover, how many will convert to votes the pollster’s know best. The total money spent by the BJP on this rally may be around 15 to 20 crore and the Congress wonders why in a state where a national calamity has taken place the BJP is spending this sort of money. Is one to understand that the Congress will not spend any money electioneering and instead divert it for relief when their time comes? Why have so many people collected the answer may lie in nature, ‘a bird never builds a nest on a falling tree’.

Security was well conducted and most importantly the BJP workers themselves had assisted the police. It has been learnt that BJP workers were also providing round the clock vigil at the site of the rally. Such motivation levels are rare, of course the BJP headquarters is in the same complex but still the very fact they have volunteered is heartening, and shows the importance of security that the common man is paying for. The ‘Shankhnaad rally’ has also seen some new innovative ideas such as the two rupee Modi tea stall which may become the trade mark of 2014 elections, and sending invitation by email to attend the rally.

The key issues that Modi addressed were his near opening remarks. He spoke of spiritual tourism and his love for the hills of Uttarakhand. This suggests why he planned his move from Uttarakhand? The BJP’s prime minister designate selected Uttarakhand for launching the national poll campaign due in the summer of 2014 with just five seats and pollsters calling this a minor state?  He stated why Uttarakhand is so special, because it is the repository of faith for the rest of India. This is what Uttarakhand has that the rest of the nation does not. Faith which Uttarakhand has in abundance, personified as the ‘Char Dhams’.  Does the poll bugle started from here give a subtle message of faith as an under tone to the voter? This June the Char Dham yatra was badly affected, and restarting it a national issue, thus somehow launching the national poll from here does send an under tone sublime message of faith to the rest of India. Modi also spoke of rehabilitation programme and the poor efforts of the government in question.

Modi had done a lot of home work on local issues and he spoke of migration from the hills and the proud role of the people of Uttarakhand in the defence forces. Modi plans his moves very well.

Nationally the Congress is weakest in Uttarakhand; the seat difference in the state assembly was just an odd seat. Major General Khanduri had bridged the gap in the last assembly elections, thus with the floods coming in Uttarakhand is a low hanging fruit, will the BJP pluck it or not depend upon their poll calculations. The various tours undertaken by the BJP’s top brass will give correct picture to Modi who had got lot of inputs regarding rehabilitation plans from the people of Uttarakhand.

Thus a weak lackadaisical government, hardly any work on rehabilitation scheme, a sublime message of faith. Is the Congress really playing into Modi and BJP. Currently 5-0 seems possible as stated by Rajnath Singh in his opening address welcoming Modi. The point remains can the BJP maintain the tempo till May?  Has Modi deliberately planned it that way, attack the chain in its weakest link, the Congress in Uttarakhand and later on devotes his time to other states?

At the end of the day, one question that remains to be answered is that is there a Modi wave in the country? The kind of preparation that the party worker indulged in the kind of determination that the workers displayed, the type of spring they had in their stride all this is indicative of a wave. The BJP workers want us to believe that there is a wave, what we saw in Uttarakhand was the starting of a wave. Will it go the full distance and last till May next year one wonders or will it gather enough momentum? Time will tell.

There was a sea of humanity the atmosphere was electrifying, winds of change are visible, this may be one idea whose time has come. India’s secular credentials are going to be severely tested in the forth coming elections.

The author is a retired brigadier
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